Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 607–618 | Cite as

The Association Between Sexual Motives and Sexual Satisfaction: Gender Differences and Categorical Comparisons

  • Kyle R. Stephenson
  • Tierney K. Ahrold
  • Cindy M. Meston


Past research suggests that sexual satisfaction may be partially dependent on sexual motives (the reasons people have sex). The primary goal of this study was to determine which of a wide range of empirically derived sexual motives were related to sexual satisfaction, and whether gender differences existed in these relationships. Examining data from 544 undergraduate participants (93 men, 451 women), we found that certain types of motives predicted levels of sexual satisfaction for both genders. However, a greater number of motive categories were related to satisfaction for women than for men, and sexual motives were a more consistent predictor of satisfaction in general for women than for men. We also found that empirical categories of motives predicted more variance in satisfaction ratings than did previously used theoretical categories. These findings suggest that a wide range of sexual motives are related to sexual satisfaction, that these connections may be moderated by gender, and that empirically-constructed categories of motives may be the most effective tool for studying this link.


Sexual satisfaction Sexual motives Gender differences 



This research was supported, in part, by Grant Number R01 HD51676-3 from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development to Cindy Meston. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyle R. Stephenson
    • 1
  • Tierney K. Ahrold
    • 1
  • Cindy M. Meston
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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